When you’re a musician on top of the world, it’s easy to get a big head. And when you can request basically anything you want to be waiting for you backstage before a concert, sometimes it’s difficult to not get, shall we say, a little bit carried away. We tracked down the food that 10 world-famous music acts requested backstage, and it ranges from the hilarious to the downright bizarre.
10 Musicians' Craziest Backstage Food Demands (Slideshow)
When a music act goes on tour, their tour manager usually sends out what’s called a rider to each venue in advance of the performance there, listing what the band and other tour personnel requires backstage. In general, they’re pretty tame: some chicken or pasta for dinner, maybe a cheese spread, usually some tea and cough drops for the singer. Billy Joel, for example, asks for a light meal left up to the caterer, juice and sodas, sugar-free hard candy, Twizzlers, popcorn, and a fruit and vegetable tray, and that’s pretty much the norm (Justin Bieber only asked for some tea, Swedish Fish, and potato chips).
Some bands, however, take their backstage requests to the extreme. Frank Sinatra, for example, wasn’t happy unless his dressing room came outfitted with a bottle of Absolut, Jack Daniel’s, Chivas Regal, Courvoisier, Beefeater Gin, red wine, white wine, shrimp cocktail, and Life Savers. Other acts are very specific about what they want: Beyoncé demands juicy baked chicken “heavily seasoned” with sea salt and black pepper, garlic, and cayenne pepper, with only Pepsi products to drink, and Rihanna asked that hard-boiled eggs, turkey bacon, and turkey sausage be made available to her at all times.
While demanding that turkey bacon always be on hand might sound a little crazy, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Take Madonna, for example, who demanded 20 international phone lines, white and pink roses with six-inch stems, new toilet seats, a personal chef, an acupuncturist, and an on-site dry cleaner. Some acts use the rider as an opportunity to be a bit silly, like Iggy and the Stooges, who demanded that Snow White’s seven dwarves, in costume, be waiting for them backstage (no word on whether their wish was granted).
When it comes to being picky, though, food is usually the area in which musicians really let their fame get to their head. Read on to learn 10 of the most hilarious and bizarre backstage food demands that musicians have ever made.
While refinement might be the last thing you’d associate with this rowdy hair metal band, they apparently wouldn’t settle for regular yellow mustard: only Grey Poupon would do. They weren’t joking around, either: In 1988 frontman Vince Neil discovered that he’d been given the wrong mustard so he threw it at the wall. It shattered, severing an artery in his thumb. They also specify that only creamy peanut butter is acceptable.
The goth king demanded a food item that seems a little out of character for such a dark guy: Haribo gummy bears. He also asked for venues to track down a bald, toothless hooker, because he always wanted to see one (no joke).
Click here for 8 more ridiculous backstage demands.
Celebrity tour riders: The 9 most ridiculous demands
During a 1982 world tour, Van Halen made the now-legendary stipulation that all brown M&Ms be removed from candy dishes in the rockers' dressing rooms. Ever since, fans and critics have made a hobby of perusing celebrities' often outlandish demands — called riders — for what venues must provide them during appearances. This week, "Paper Planes" singer/Super Bowl bird-flipper M.I.A.'s tour rider leaked — and it's a doozy. Buried among requests for Vitamin Water and European cheeses is the demand for "three women between the ages of 20 and 25 to dance on stage wearing full-body burqas." As heads spin from that peculiar request, here's a look back at eight of the most ridiculous items on other celebrity riders:
1. Kanye West
On the same day M.I.A.'s ludicrous request surfaced, a rider leaked from Kanye West's recent visit to Australia. On the list: Imported and recut Versace towels, for starters. "What else would he wipe his brow with during a performance?" says Ray Rahman at Entertainment Weekly. But more unusual is his requirement that any chauffeur who drives him wear only 100 percent cotton clothes. "No man-made fibers."
2. Britney Spears
Britney demanded a veritable feast when she performed at London's 02 arena last year, requesting that the venue provide her with McDonald's cheeseburgers (no buns), 100 figs and prunes, and — fitting for the location — a fish-and-chips supper. But all that pales in comparison with her strangest dressing room request: A framed photo of Princess Diana. "Britney adores the monarchy," says the U.K.'s Mirror. "Diana was in many ways her inspiration."
3. Foo Fighters
The Foo Fighters may have the most "hilarious" backstage rider of all time, says Simon Vozick-Levinson at Rolling Stone. The rockers are known for sneaking jokes into their list of demands, and topped themselves with a cheeky rider for their 2011 world tour. It included a coloring book, activity pages, and maxims for life: "No one likes a straight A student." The funniest page of the document provides an illustrated guide to the kind of catering the band expects. A drawing of a sandwich with a pile of rocks is branded "Lame Entree," while a steak and baked potato sketch is described as an "Awesome Entree."
4. Mary J. Blige
Thirty-five cities, 35 toilet seats. That's the takeaway from Mary J. Blige's 2006 tour rider, which demanded that each venue install a brand new toilet seat in the dressing room bathroom before she arrived. She also cherishes her privacy. Her request that housekeeping personnel at the hotels she stays at honor her "Do Not Disturb" sign is punctuated by 26 exclamation points.
5. Dustin Diamond
Don't call him Screech. The former Saved by the Bell actor turned reality TV and amateur porn star demands that any event he is booked for refrain from any "Screech-centric" billing. Any venue that violates this stipulation by promoting the event using his ties to Saved by the Bell will be levied with a $100 fine for every offending ad, flyer, or marquee.
6. Katy Perry
Kanye West isn't the only entertainer to have special demands for his driver. For her 2011 U.S. tour, Katy Perry had a 23-point "principle driver policy" that specifically dictated the proper behavior of those tasked with carting her around. One explicit rule, according to the policy, is that drivers must not converse with Perry. The Smoking Gun reports that they "also are directed not to stare at the backseat through the rearview mirror."
7. Justin Bieber
The current prince of pop's tour rider is suitably "squeaky clean," says The Smoking Gun, noting his reasonable requests for fruit platters and herbal teas. Apparently, he also requires his entourage's wardrobe be just as clean, as he also demands four packages of plain white tee shirts and three packages of lo-rise socks — all in various sizes — be stocked in his dressing room.
8. Jennifer Lopez
Just because she was making a charity appearance doesn't mean Jennifer Lopez was going to ease up on her diva demands. While attending a recording session for the African AIDS charity single "What's Going On" in 2002, she submitted her standard tour rider, which demanded a 40-foot trailer furnished all in white from top to bottom — flowers, tablecloths, drapery, couches, candles… everything. "Love don't cost a thing," says Gary Susman at Entertainment Weekly. "But being a diva sure can be expensive."
Rock stars’ wackiest backstage demands
It doesn’t take much to make Iggy Pop happy — just be sure seven dwarfs are on hand to greet him in his dressing room.
And that 13-foot boa constrictor you’re putting in Nikki Sixx’s room? It’s about 2 feet shy of his minimum requirement.
Welcome to the difficult, demanding, downright wacky rock star requests found in their concert riders, or contracts presented to promoters detailing an artist’s requirements, included in the new book “Excess All Areas” (Backbeat Books).
Veteran music industry insider Sue Richmond got her start at A&M in the 1980s and ran her own record label in the ’90s.
Along the way she’s heard her fair share of horror stories and collected her favorite riders with help from British music mag Q.
British rock band Status Quo, for example, refused to play a show because their rider-requested Marks & Spencer white tube socks were not in their dressing rooms.
Van Halen holds the dubious distinction of having the most famous rider of all time. The band’s 53-page 1982 rider included requests for “one large tube K-Y Jelly” and, most famously, “M&Ms (WARNING: ABSOLUTELY NO BROWN ONES”).
Though touted as an example of rock star excess run amok, David Lee Roth says it was actually an ingenious test of a venue’s attention to detail.
“So in the middle of this huge contract rider…it was like a Chinese phonebook…I had them place a clause, in the middle of nowhere,” David Lee Roth explains in an 2012 interview with NPR. “If I saw brown M&Ms on a catering table, then I knew the promoter did not read the full rider.”
If he found a venue in breach of contract, the show would be canceled, and the promoter would have to pay out in full.
Though many of these riders sound ridiculous, they’re often taken seriously “if only to avoid the wrath of 10,000-strong audience,” Richmond writes.
Some of the more unusual demands of riders include:
Six-foot sofa, love seat, easy chairs, table lamps, floor standing lamps, coffee table, 6 food banquet tables (covered with white linen table cloths), large green plants, large arrangement of colored flowers (no chrysanthemums, lilies, carnations, or daisies).
1 whip (not PVC) or riding crop (leather handle), table tennis bat (wooden handle, stippled, Acme or better).
1 used paperback novel (English language please).
List of all local record shops.
6 cans of Chef Boyardee ravioli, 1 large bag of assorted Starburst fruit chews, 6 assorted cans of Campbell’s chunky soup, box of baby wipes, 12 pairs of white tube socks.
Getty Images Brown
Hooded hair dryer, iron, ironing board, towels, soap, deli tray with assorted meats and cheeses, coffee, tea, soft drinks (Coke products), Gatorade, champagne (Cristal or Dom), 1 electric golf cart.
A packet of Crunchy Nut cornflakes, six bowls, six spoons and a bottle of Dom Perignon champagne.
Tea, coffee, sparkling water, Coca-Cola, Sprite, Gatorade, 1 bottle of white wine, 1 bottle of red wine, Bailey’s (for drummer Phil Rudd), cheese, raw vegetables, sweets, chewing gum. Proper meal with, for example: salad, mashed potatoes with gravy, sausages or lamb cutlets or beef, custard and cake. Cartons of cigarettes and tobacco so (singer) Brian Johnson can roll his own.
2 fifths of Ketel One vodka, 2 fifths of Jameson’s, 1 fifth of Sauza Silver tequila, 48 bottles of Stella Artois, 24 bottles of Corona, 1 bottle of red wine, 12 cans of Coke, 1 box of Emergen-C powdered vitamin drink (even days orange, odd days tropical), 1 gallon fresh orange juice. Bunch of celery.
Absolut vodka (must be Absolut), Jack Daniel’s, selection of fine beers (for the band), PG Tips teabags, water. Jerk chicken, rice and peas, pizza (margherita), vegetarian and non-vegetarian sandwiches. Doritos, nuts, and bananas. Camel Lights, joss sticks (variety of fragrances), fresh towels, Sign for the door that reads: “Only Big Boys Can Enter.”
After show (on no account must this be placed in dressing room before show): 1 bottle of absinthe.
2 bottles of Bacardi, 2 bottles of Hennessy cognac, 4 bottles of still mineral water, 2 cases of Mountain Dew (caffeine-charged soft drink) — imported from America, 4 bottles of orange juice, trays of assorted fruit. A selection of Taco Bell (Mexican-themed fast food) — imported from America.
Seven dwarves, pizzas to give to the homeless, and pre-chopped broccoli florets, to make them easier to throw away!
Mötley Crüe’s Nikki Sixx
A supply of clean ice, 4 self-contained candles, 1 boa constrictor (not to be less than 15 ft), 1 machete, 1 stainless steel double-bladed combat/survival knife (not serrated), 1 fully suppressed Heckler & Koch MP-5 SD sub-machine gun and 500 9mm rounds.
1 ass-shaped pinata filled with Cuban cigars and dark chocolate Cacique rum liqueurs, 1 box of indoor fireworks, 1 roll of black gaffer tape. 1 DVD from this selection: “Twin Town,” “Goodfellas,” “Alfie” (Michael Caine original), “Wild Geese,” “Where Eagles Dare,” “Enter the Dragon,” “Cool Hand Luke,” “Deep Throat.”
It makes sense that someone as eccentric as Michael Jackson would demand to have some famous props from his favorite flicks, and when these bad boys appeared on his radar, he simply had to have them. Tim Burton fans must have been bummed out when Jackson scooped them up back in the day.
Musicians need to make it safe and sound to the venue each night to perform for their adoring fans, though most artists do this by way of rickety old buses. Michael Jackson, however, demanded that a private jet transport him to and from his intended destination. Talk about having champagne taste.
18 Reasonable: Mariah Carey – Fried Chicken
In terms of decor, Carey does take things a little too far requesting specific candles, seating and even a set temperature of her choosing.
However, according to Business Insider, he food requests are a lot simpler. Never mind a healthy salad, Carey wants a nice plate of warm fried chicken! That’s an easy request. Her other demands aren’t out of the ordinary either, requiring small water bottles, lemons, honey and sugarless gym. Oh, and don’t forget the melon flavored Gatorade and the sparkling Pellegrino water!
The 20 Craziest Tour Riders in Music History
Every so often, the tour rider for a certain act or band will appear online, inspiring discussion of how ridiculous, crazy, and absurd said act or band is with their requests while out on the road.
In addition to outlining security, insurance policies, and other technical items, these lists provide some insight into exactly what makes your favorite act tick while hanging out backstage. It also sheds some light on just how comfortable they need to be before rocking a huge crowd.
Many times, a rider is actually revealing of the the non-diva qualities of certain music superstars like Nicki Minajਊnd Rihanna, whose "zaniest" requests are just a ton of candles, lotions, and choice beverages.ut highlighting those riders would be, well, boring compared to those of acts like Metallica, Madonna, and Iggy Pop.
Those three, along with 17 others, appear in our rundown of the craziest tour riders in music history. Read on for reassurance that your life is exceedingly normal.
Don't bring Katy Perry carnations. In addition to very specific flower rules, the "Teenage Dream" singer's food list is quite specific, complete with freeze-dried strawberries and Santa Margarita Pinot Grigio.
Arrangement of pink fresh flowers. White and purple hydrangeas, pink & white roses and peonies. If not available, seasonal white flowers to include white orchids–ABSOLUTELY NO CARNATIONS.
A box of Huggies baby nature care wipes
6 Vitamin waters zero, assorted flavors
Bowl of whole fresh organic grown fruit (apples, bananas, oranges and grapes)
Plate of fresh-cut Crudités (to include cucumber, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, snap peas, celery) w/ ranch dip
Snyder's of Hanover Honey Mustard & Onion Pretzel
Jar of Salsa
Baked (blue corn if possible) Tortilla Chips
Freeze dried strawberries
2 bottles of Santa Margarita Pinot Grigio
Throat coat, Twinnings Chamomile PG tips and Mint medley tea.
Fuze slenderize assorted flavors
A jar of quality honey
Plastic drinking straws
The 32 most ridiculous things musicians have demanded in their dressing rooms
Ever wonder what it's like to hang out backstage with your favorite musicians?
Thanks to nifty little documents known as tour riders, you don't have to wonder anymore.
Broadly speaking, tour riders outline all the terms that a venue must meet when an artist comes to give a performance. They generally include each artist's detailed demands for food, decorations, and other personal touches in their dressing rooms. Most give a surprisingly detailed snapshot of the artist's private backstage space.
But as you might expect, some celeb requests can get pretty exorbitant — even downright weird. We combed through dozens of leaked tour riders published on the website The Smoking Gun. H ere's a look at some truly ridiculous requests made on the riders of 32 artists across the industry.
The craziest rider demands
Mariah Carey's rider includes 20 white kittens and mineral water for her dogs to bathe in Credit: 2015 Getty Images
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E very touring musician has a rider – a list of requirements for each venue specifying sound and lighting requirements, instructions for the set up of the backstage area, security needs and nutritional requests for the band and crew. This week, it was revealed that the Rolling Stones' rider has been modified to fit the ageing rocker's needs. As Jack White pointed out in a very angry letter earlier this year, a lot of riders request copious amounts of food not just for the star, but for their crew. That doesn't explain, however, some stranger demands from music stars such as new lavatory seats and white doves. These are some of the best:
Kanye is known for his outrageous statements, so it is hardly surprising that his rider reportedly includes some equally outrageous demands. Apparently the rapper demands imported Versace towels on hand at all times, and that his drivers wear clothes made from 100 percent cotton. According to the Daily Mail, Mr Kim Kardashian also demanded that his dressing room carpet was ironed by an assistant because it was “too bumpy”.
The queen of pop has very specific demands for her throne. According to OK magazine, Madonna demands a brand new lavatory seat for every venue. She also requests lilies and roses (white and light-pink only) with their stems trimmed to precisely six inches.
Mariah Carey is renowned for her diva demands, and her tour rider reportedly insists that she is supplied with bottles of vitamin water to bathe her dogs in as well as an attendant to dispose of her used chewing gum. The All I Want for Christmas singer is also said to request 20 white kittens and 100 white doves. Pity the hero of a roadie who has to clean up after that menagerie.
Alongside Haribo gummy bears in his dressing room, Marilyn Manson reportedly asks for a “bald-headed, toothless hooker” in his rider.
Britney’s rider for her 2011 performance at the O2, reported on by the Daily Mirror, suggests the star was trying to get in a very British frame of mind. The star asked for fish and chip supper and a photo of Princess Diana. She also requested McDonald’s cheeseburgers, without the buns, 100 figs and prunes, and toothpaste.
It wouldn’t be Lady Gaga without at least one wacky request on her rider. She reportedly requests “a mannequin with puffy pink pubic hair” in her dressing room, alongside the more common superstar requests of bottles of water and wine.
No rock ‘n’ roll demands of alcohol or cigarettes from the former Beatle, just some very specific requirements when it comes to lighting and floral arrangements. Apparently McCartney requires 6 “full and leafy” floor plants (no trees) – and the plants must be as full on the bottom as the top, specifically stating no tree trunks. He also asks for one large arrangement of white Casablanca lilies with lots of foliage one long stemmed arrangement of pale pink and white roses one arrangement of freesia (apparently freesia is a favourite).
According to a leaked rider for their recent US tour, The Rolling Stones request the standard rock ‘n’ roll alcohol and cigarettes, as well as butlers on hand 24 hours a day. However one demand included in the rider belies the band’s age. Sir Mick, 72, Charlie Watts, 74, Keith Richards, 71, and Ronnie Wood, 68, all require a set of written instructions on how to use the electronics in their hotel rooms.
Katy Perry is almost as specific as Paul McCartney when is comes to flowers. The California girl demands “white and purple hydrangeas, pink & white roses and peonies. ABSOLUTELY NO CARNATIONS.” Perry also reportedly forbids her drivers from making eye contact or conversation with her. If you ever have to pick Katy Perry up from somewhere, just make sure you don’t greet her with carnations and a hug.
Iggy Pop’s rider is an 18 page document dictating everything from security requirements to the backstage demands. The veteran rocker requires a Bob Hope impersonator and “a copy of USA Today that’s got a story about morbidly obese people in it”. Iggy’s not one to only think of himself though, he also makes sure there’s a pack of cards “in case one of the band’s girlfriends fancies a quick game of strip poker when the band are onstage”.
Buried amongst dozens of points in Van Halen’s rider from the Seventies was a famously odd stipulation that there were to be no brown M&Ms in the backstage area. If any brown M&Ms were found backstage, the band could cancel the entire concert at the full expense of the promoter. Years later, lead singer David Lee revealed why: the M&Ms clause of the rider was buried in a list of health and safety stipulations. If the band were presented with brown M&Ms at a venue, they knew that some of the much more important demands may not have been met – putting the band, crew and fans at risk. Not such a diva demand after all then.
The Brady Bunch‘s darkest secrets finally revealed
Susan Olsen (Cindy Brady) just dropped some serious backstage scoop from her The Brady Bunch days. Brace yourself: Your childhood memories are about to be forever tainted.
The Brady Bunch was one of TV’s most wholesome shows. When it hit the air in 1969 it was one of the first TV shows to portray a blended family. Whether you watched the show when it first aired or caught it in reruns, The Brady Bunch has been a childhood staple for generations, thanks to its kid-friendly storytelling. Well, like all of your other childhood favorites, The Brady Bunch had a dark side, too, and the youngest Brady, Cindy (Olsen), spilled some serious scoop to news.com.au.
Here are the seven juiciest, most unsettling backstage stories Olsen revealed in her interview.
1. Everyone hooked up with everyone else
Rumors of behind-the-scenes hookups have always run rampant, but Olsen confirms the young actors were all hooking up with each other in one way or another. “We led a sheltered life for part of the year, so if there was anybody to get a crush on or try to date, it would be our counterparts.” That’s not so bad they weren’t real life brothers and sisters, after all. But this next image will forever be burned inside your heads.
2. Cindy and Bobby were making out in the doghouse when they were 9
That’s right. According to Olsen, she and Mike Lookinland (Bobby) started having make-out sessions in Tiger’s doghouse when they were just 9. That thing you’re feeling is the last shreds of your innocence dying. What would Alice have said?
3. Marcia and Jan really did hate each other
The sisterly rivalry was not just on the screen. Although Olsen didn’t mention what caused the rift between Eve Plumb (Jan) and Maureen McCormick (Marcia), she did say she was more sympathetic toward Plumb. Weren’t we all, though?
“I think it’s kind of petty,” Olsen said in the interview. “From day one with these two I have always been in the middle and now it’s at the point where there isn’t even a desire to communicate through me.”
At least they still sound like a family. The show has been off the air for years, but Olsen appears to still be trying to bridge the gap between her onscreen sisters.
4. The Brady Bunch wasn’t rolling in the dough
If you thought The Brady Bunch cast was raking in the cash, you were wrong. Despite being part of a hit show, the cast was not paid well at all as Olsen recalls. Furthermore, they had to pay to park on the lot where they worked. ABC in the s was hardcore.
5. Cindy grew up to be a pot farmer
Olsen admitted she did grow pot with her ex-husband, but it is not something she enjoyed. As a gardener, she appreciated the plant’s uniqueness, but smoking marijuana made her “paranoid.” She also added that one of the reasons she ultimately left her husband was because she was not fond of partaking in an illegal activity.
6. Marcia shoplifted for fun
When asked to tell a fun story about McCormick, Olsen broke out a tale of McCormick’s youthful shoplifting games. Olsen alleges McCormick once got caught shoplifting with her friend, Susan Cowsill (who was part of a band at the time), and hid in a car while Cowsill took the rap. What a Marcia move.
7. Greg had the hots for Carol
Finally, the most disturbing news of all: Barry Williams (Greg) had a huge crush on his TV mom, Florence Henderson, so much so he wanted to hook up with her. Luckily for our collective memories of The Brady Bunch, Henderson made sure her relationship with Williams stayed platonic. Still, just knowing Greg had the hots for his stepmom is going to make The Brady Bunch rewatches very uncomfortable.